U17s, U20s to get World Cup qualifying boost

Rico Bodden (9) in action during the CFU U17 World Cup Qualifiers in 2016.

The Cayman Islands national U17 Boys and U20 Men’s teams could be in line for some high-level competition from neighbouring countries as they prepare for Caribbean Football Union (CFU) World Cup qualifying later this year. Plans are being made to host the 2018 Cayman Cup in February featuring corresponding national teams from Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica.

The tournament is being planned for 9-11 February with games being at Truman Bodden Sports Complex and the Annex.

“This will be an excellent opportunity for our young national players to test their abilities against three of the better youth national programmes in the Caribbean in Jamaica, Cuba and the Dominican Republic,” stated a document signed by Cayman Islands Football Association (CIFA) President Alfredo Whittaker and Antwan Seymour, the manager of the U20 Men’s National Team.

Seymour told CaymanSportsBuzz.com that the plan is to utilise the upcoming international break on the football calendar.  “This way we can see how our players match-up at this stage and not wait until just before the qualifying tournaments in July and August. This would give us enough time to make the necessary adjustments instead of at the last minute,” he said.

The U20s have been training and competing together since 2011 with a competition record of seven wins and two losses at U15 and U17 levels, most recently coming within a half of advancing to the last stage of the CFU U17 World Cup Qualifying in 2016. Having won their two opening group games, Cayman led powerhouse Haiti at that half but were eventually defeated by the side that went on to win the CFU tournament.

Corey Smith (red) finds a way past St Martin defenders in the 2017 CONCACAF U15 Boys Championships.

The U17s recently competed in their first international tournament in August 2017 – the CONACACAF Under 15 Boys’ Championships. During this tournament, the team defeated Aruba, Bonaire, St Martin and Antigua & Barbuda to finish the tournament undefeated scoring 12 goals and only conceding three.

“Our youth national programmes no longer want only to compete, we now want to win and in doing so, ‘set the bar’ for future youth national teams to replicate and improve on,” Seymour said.

However, financing remains a major challenge. With an estimated operating cost of in excess of $65,000 for airfare, accommodation and ground transportation for the five visiting teams, the association is hoping to attract corporate support to provide the opportunity to the national teams.

Further information on sponsorship opportunities can be received from Antwan Seymour: antwan.seymour@outlook.com or (345) 925-7407.


The proposed schedule is as follows:

Friday, 9 February

4:00 p.m. Jamaica Under 20 vs. Dominican Rep. Under 20

4:00 p.m. Cuba Under 17 vs. Dominican Rep. Under 17 (Annex)

6:00 p.m. Cayman Under 17 vs. Jamaica Under 17

8:00 p.m. Cayman Under 20 vs. Cuba Under 20


Saturday, 10 February

1:00 p.m. Jamaica Under 17 vs. Dominican Rep. Under 17

3:00 p.m. Jamaica Under 20 vs. Cuba Under 20

5:00 p.m. Cayman Under 17 vs. Cuba Under 17

7:00 p.m. Cayman Under 20 vs. Dominican Rep. Under 20


Sunday, 11 February

1:00 p.m. Cayman Under 17 vs. Dominican Rep. Under 17

3:00 p.m. Jamaica Under 17 vs. Cuba Under 17

5:00 p.m. Dominican Rep. Under 20 vs. Cuba Under 20

7:00 p.m. Cayman Under 20 vs. Jamaica Under 20

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